This is a reissue version of a 50's era stratocaster. Pricewise (and specswise) this sits above the standard Mexican strats and just below the better speced classic player reissues. This is a mexican made strat.
As it's a reissue of the earliest strats this guitar is only available with a maple neck with a vintage neck. These necks have my personal favourite neck profile called a soft V. It is thicker than the modern C profiles and in my opinion a lot more comfortable. For a player used to these modern neckshapes this might take some adjustment. The neck also comes with vintage frets, smaller than most modern day equivalents. The neck is a rounder radius than most modern guitars as well, which makes for very comfortable chord playing. One problem I've encountered however is bending notes. Unless the action is increased larger bends will get "choked" or fret out.
The body is a standard alder body. It is a good weight, certainly not too heavy and not too light. I'm not a fan of light bodied guitars.
All the hardware appears to be good quality. The bridge is a classic 6 point trem. The tuners are vintage style which may take some getting used to but with various guides online for restringing they hold tune pretty well.
These guitars come with better pickups than the standard MIMs. These are staggered alcino pickups rather than the usual ceramic ones found on standards. This provides a huge improvement on tone, much closer to a classic strat tone.
If you're looking for a vintage accurate strat for a good price look no further. While a lot of the features on this guitar come down to personal preference it is mostly vintage accurate. It is a better vintage representation than the slightly more expensive classic player strats.
You already know what a stratocaster is so I won't waste your time with the usual boring drivel. This is a fairly faithful replica of a 1950s strat but it is not an artificially aged, full-blown relic.
The most important thing you need to know about the Classic '50s strat is the neck. The "soft V" neck is completely different from modern slim, fast necks. It's probably more suited to rock and blues than any heavy metal pyrotechnics. It does take a wee bit of getting used to. First impressions are that this is a "boat" neck, it feels huge under your hands. Your first instinct may be to immediately return it, but this is the classic neck profile that legends like Eric Clapton insist on. So try playing it for a few minutes. You'll soon notice the slim fretboard balances things and makes playing easy. It is so comfortable to play chords on, you could barre an F all day on this guitar. Despite the thick neck you can still set up a nice low action and play classic riffs with ease. Persevere, you'll love it!
The alder body seems the perfect weight and the guitar feels well balanced. Mine is daphne blue and the maple neck is nicely figured. The urethane lacquer on the neck is a lovely shade of amber which gives the guitar a vintage appearance. The pickup covers, switch tip and tremolo arm tip are also artificially aged (i.e. cream). There is no relic effect applied to the body or the metal parts. The alnico pickups are quite bright and I compensate by rolling off a bit of treble on my amp. The 5 way switch lets you access all the classic strat sounds from bite to quack. However, I mostly use the neck pickup as I prefer that rich creamy sound.
There's a lot of snobbery about Mexican Fenders but I have no complaints about any of the components here nor the craftsmanship. There were no flaws, no loose parts and the gloss finish on the neck is perfect. The vintage tuners in particular are very good. Fair enough, I had to spend half an hour setting the intonation and getting the action set to my preferred height but that would be true of most guitars. It also pays dividends to experiment with pickup heights to achieve "that" sound and get things balanced.
Close examination did reveal a slightly less than perfectly even finish on the polyester paint but that's only when you keep tilting your head close up. I am nit picking here.
The one thing I really didn't like about the guitar was the single ply white scratchplate. Although this replicates the original '50s model I thought it looked very cheap (it was also only partially shielded). I replaced mine with a 3 ply pickguard and have since purchased a pearloid scratchplate which adds to the retro cheesiness of it all.
This Classic '50s Stratocaster might not have the paint job of a £2000 Fender custom shop guitar but it is an astounding guitar for the money (mine was £349). I've lost interest in my other guitars. This is an addictive guitar, I love it and am already planning to buy another as a backup for gigs.